NBA / Dec 13, 2011 / 11:30 am

Paul Pierce & The NBA’s New Take On Loyalty

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce, Dime #5

You have Chris Paul, asking – demanding – for a trade, hanging suspended in limbo at the fingers of the master puppeteer David Stern, playing for a team with no talent in a city where no one shows up on game nights. You have Dwight Howard going back and forth, worried “Will this make them hate me? Will they call me names?” One day he wants out. The next he never wants to leave. You have J.J. Barea, who recently broke the traditional sports code: left a championship team for more money. He went for the cash, and wasn’t looking back. But then you have Paul Pierce, the old cowboy who never left his post, and survived the Antoine Walker era, coaching changes, a nearly fatal stabbing, an 18-game losing streak and the steely glare of Red.

As Jessica Camerato wrote on CSNNE.com, Pierce first practiced loyalty way back in high school. He was only a sophomore and thought transferring from Inglewood to Crenshaw – a state title team – would solve his problems. But he didn’t fit, missed his friends, had some unfinished business on the court, and after he took advice from Steven Hosey, his older brother, Pierce transferred back home just a week after his initial exodus. By the end of that season, he moved up to varsity and started to get minutes. In the words of his high school coach, Patrick Roy, a year later, “he was an All-American.” Two years later “he was off the charts.”

Pierce told CSNNE.com:

“I think even since back then, the loyalty that I was able to show just by staying at that school and not giving up on them even though we weren’t that good at the time is something that’s just been instilled in me ever since I was a young kid.”

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  • ctkennedy

    u could but if u dont win a ring ..its always gon comeback to that …Stars r judged by the playoffs

  • superfreak6

    I wouldn’t put JJ Barea in the category of “unloyal.” Cuban offered him a 1 year contract. What’s he suppose to do, leave 15M on the table? It’d be unloyal if Dallas offered him the same/similar contract and he decided to leave.

  • http://www.faads.asd Guitar Hero

    I believe Mr. Barkley “demanded” a trade from the 76ers to a contender (the Suns, obviously).
    Then when he saw he could not win in Phoenix, he jumped ship to play with the late-90’s superfriends version in Hakeem and Pippen.
    He may not be the best example for the previous generation.

  • Ian

    fuck yeah players should get extra respect for that.

    i respect dudes like stockton and miller way more than malone and barkley or players that won a ring by demanding trades. thats just me.

  • alex

    I read Dime every couple of hours every day. This is the first one I have responded to. Great piece. Call me old school but I’m all about loyalty. Back in the day, there was an all star on every team. Every team was exciting and you believed they could win something. Bring that back.

  • ctkennedy

    @Ian but when u bring up Stockton n Malone for greatest at their position and place n history …whats the one thing thats ALWAYS said at the end …they didnt win a ring…if u try not to complain ..the fans n media complain how u cant take the team no farther ..when the they KNOW nobody could win a title with that team noway…Management cracks than u traded…all blame on u

  • Ian

    they didnt win but they werent losers (i dont know if that makes sense). if barkley had won a ring with houston it wouldnt been worth less than one in phoenix and that one woulda been worth less than one in philly.

    imo stockton is a winner cuz he made to finals and deep playoffs runs with his team. barkley couldnt get it done either but he had a better team than stock and only made one finals. fuck the media and fans that complain about that magic johnson wouldnt have lead those jazz teams to a chip.

    imo without winning stock and miller overachieved. ewing, barkley and malone underachieved. there are two players that havent won a ring and i can say that bron is underachieving and rose is overachieving if both retired without a ring but keep doing what they are doing for ten more years ill have more respect for rose.

  • Sean Sweeney

    @superfreak6 I wasn’t trying to label Barea not loyal… simply was saying that while stars seem intent on going only to great situations, we’ll still have less talented players willing to take money over winning. Barea could’ve gone to the Knicks for less and at least had a shot at some playoff success, but took the $$ to go to the worst team in the league from last year.

    I’m not even hating on him for it though. This was probably his one shot to get a big deal. He did the right thing.

    And yeah Barkley isn’t a great showcase of loyalty. But a lot of players nowadays look at people like him and Ewing, etc. as what they don’t want to be like when they’re 35: ringless.

  • Ian

    oh and i heard so much shit from dumb fans in the 90s because robinson couldnt win before duncan came in or pippen didnt win when jordan left. shit people NO ONE wins with a backcourt of avery johnson and vinny del negro. duncan had david robinson as his teammate david didnt have a david and still carried all those scrubs for 50 wins every season. same with pippen he didnt have a pippen as his sidekick and still won 55 without his airness and almost beat the knicks in the second round.

  • ctkennedy

    @Ian i agree with u …there is always more to people careers than JUST SPORTSCENTER fans know…Lls

  • cesar

    shitty post is shitty

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    To me, staying in one spot and re-signing a few times is less impressive than staying in one spot and not getting traded. I’m not surprised that Pierce re-signed with Boston every time he had the chance; I am surprised that the Celtics were patient enough to not pull the trigger on trading him. Considering that GM’s/coaches have shakier job security than players, it’s a wonder when they don’t make panic moves

    And I do wish people would move away from the idea that not winning a championship makes you a loser. Basketball isn’t golf or tennis or track; there are so many factors that go into one player winning a championship, and many of them are out of his control. So I don’t think of Stockton, Malone, Barkley, Ewing, ‘Nique, Gervin, Iverson, T-Mac or guys like that as losers.

  • Ian

    you are impressed with management then not the player.

    i agree with some of those but just some of those on your list not being losers. iverson isnt, stock isnt, gervin and nique i dont know but i cant defend the others too much specially your boy tmac. just one series thats all we wanted.


  • ctkennedy

    @austin burton
    i tell people all the time that TMac was a better player than Kobe n their primes …Kobe just played on better teams…they ALWAYS bring up Kobe got titles…But when i say if Kobe was a Hornet nobody would care…nobody say nothing

  • K Dizzle

    @ Sean

    Pierce’s story don’t sound like loyalty, it sounds more like circumstance. He left Inglewood for Crewshaw, then came back after he didn’t like it. He woulda left Boston too, but McHale hooked Ainge up with KG even though the Lakers were offering a better package…Old Celts lookin out.

    @ Ian – I dont know why you givin Stock n Mailman ‘extra respect’ cuz they stuck it out but never won anything. Same for D-Rob. Jazz n Spurs always added pieces to their core players. Stockton played with the best powerforward at the time n Malone played with the best point guard not named Magic so all u needed around them were a solid shooter(Hornacek, Jeff Malone)good defensive wings(Russell, Benoit) and some beef to help Malone inside(Ostertag, Eaton, Foster). Unfortunately, they ran into MJ, but Malone n Stock would have been foolish to leave that situation.
    San Antonio tried to build around Robinson. Sean Elliott was a certified stud back in the day. I liked Willie Anderson, Doc Rivers and Terry Cummings. Avery played well for them and even Rodman n Strickland put in work, but let’s be honest. If Robinson hadn’t broken his back in 96, thereby bringing Duncan to town, the Spurs don’t sniff a ring. All we’d say is Robinson was a great player who couldn’t get over the hump.
    I have no probem with a player requesting a trade if their franchise goes into costcutting mode(Phoenix) or jut stops trying to acquire talent…

  • Ian

    austin but of all the team sports basketball is the one that is affected the most by one player. if you are in a team good enough to win it and you didnt at least once then damn.
    ewing had a good team and a two year jordan suspension to win it. what did he do?? avg 18ppg on 33percent shooting in the finals and miss a layup vs the pacers to win the thing oh and his team making the finals in 99 without him. he was the problem not his team. tmac comonnn how many chances to win just one series?? barkley really just one finals and he had super teams in phoenix and houston. malone choking up and getting stripped like a baby in the finals??

    gervin and nique i think were too selfish to make teammates better.

    i cant make excuses for those dudes

    reggie dropping bombs in ny and beating the knicks as underdogs. taking jordan to 7 in 98 despite chicago having the 2 maybeee 3 best players in the series. made the finals and won 2 vs that monster of a laker team. thats a fucking winner that can carry team. whole career in indy

    prob the best pg ever had only one real good teammate that choked when it matter. sent utah to the finals with a bomb vs houston. alltime leader in steals and assists. winner whole career in utah

    just check the roster of the team that made the finals
    enuff said

    not the same situation for all those players you mentioned.

  • Ian

    haha good point ctkennedy
    thats the same thing i say about ewing. had the man been a king all his career no one would know him.

  • Ian

    i have to disagree there a bit
    malone might be the best pf ever but it doesnt matter if he choked in big games. maybe if his game didnt drop and he hits his freethrows like he usually did they win one. not stocks fault.

    if robinson had suck a great team why couldnt they win more than 20 games without him?? hey jordan won 55 without him.
    rodman wasnt good for the spurs. elliott wasnt a stud he was good but not a stud. his numbers were inflated because he played with a superstar that demanded a lot of attention. look at his season in detroit check out that drop off. samething with mo williams being a boderline allstar cuz he played with lebron. del negro the starterrrrr was a scrub. cummings prime was in milwaukee (i think). johnson sucked im sorry but he did. the admiral only had a team to win his first season and they took the conf champs to 7 games as a rookie. all those players you mentioned either didnt want to be there, sucked and didnt play together.
    other than duncan in 03 i dont think i remember another superstar winning without a solid allstar on his team. well dirk did this year.

    “All we’d say is Robinson was a great player who couldn’t get over the hump”
    nope that is what you and some other fans would be saying not all of us.

    i had to go google doc rivers in san antonio cuz i didnt remember him pleaseeee dizzle what the fuck is that he was a 4ppg player his last year in the league.

    NO ONE wins with the team he had just like no other pg wins with the team stock had. all the dudes u mentioned for stock except horny sucked.

  • Ian

    you know what we shouldnt even rank players alltime cuz almost always the star with the best team win. would magic win 5 titles in the 80s with dallas?? hell no. bird 3 with the clippers?? no hes outta the league by 85 with the bad back. maybe tmac wins all 7 finals in kobes situation?? who knows. i think theres almost no gap between the top 20 25 players alltime just luck and better teammates.
    unless you proveee real hard you a kinda loserish (ewings examples i wrote) we should stop sayin superstars the coulndt get over the hump and use dudes that didnt have a enough good team.

  • silky

    ian- totally disagree re: ewing. u put ewing on a team with mitch richmond, billy owens, wayman tisdale, walt williams, polynice…. that arguably better talent than he had in new york… in a soft conference where he didnt have to play michael fkn jordan every year to even make the finals. bad analogy. ewing was a warrior, under-rated in my books.

    its funny in retrospect hearing barkley trash the super teams and all that when he did damn near the same thing, got to go to team with kj and marjele in the valley and with pip and akeem.

    fact is- the nba has evolved. player hold more sway over their futures. i think it comes with the good and the bad for fans

  • K Dizzle

    Lol @ Ian
    I just threw Doc in there to see if you were payin attention. Here’s the issue with a player like D-Rob. Hall of Fame player in a small-market. He can carry a team, by himself, to 45-55 wins. So you never get a high pick n Spurs can’t afford to throw big money at a free agent…and miss (see Richard Jefferson)
    Only luck brought Duncan to town. And Elliott was a certified stud. The reason he sucked in Detroit was because of his kidney condition. Come on, man!
    If you got to the Finals and didn’t win, you had a good enough team. Unfortunately for losing teams, the NBA’s all about matchups. So you can coast to the Finals, then run into the wrong team. U think the Spurs get beaten in the first round if they didn’t have to face the Griz?

    @ ctkennedy
    Not only was TMac never as good as Kobe, he got destroyed everytime they matched up.
    Just the fact that TMac never got out of the first round should explain it all.
    Here’s a stat to sum the whole ‘argument’ up.
    Kobe 11(9) – TMac….0
    All defensive team nods(first team in brackets)
    There are 2 sides to basketball. I love dudes who say TMac was ‘better’ than Kobe in his prime cuz he could score 35ppg, but neglect the fact that their 6’9 2guard never got a vote for all defense team…ever

  • Lee

    Talking about loyalty, ‘Nique got traded when he was leading the Hawks to the best record in the east. His championship attempt got taken away from him.

  • ctkennedy

    Jordan didnt stop Ewing…Ewing stop his self …he went against the Bulls weak crop of centers n never DOMINATED not one series against the Bulls …not ONE series

    @KDizzle u know its some other sh^t behind them first team defense awards
    Which series was TMac team suppose to win n the playoffs …he always played for the underdog except tha one Utah-Houston series
    TMac played better D than u givin him credit for …take away Gasol n Shaq Kobe got no series win either …Ming never stayed healthy ..the one yr he did TMac got hurt irony like a mf

  • silky

    ewing never played good against the bulls?? never dominated their frontline!! gtfoh. get that memory checked dude. and these are in games where the final scores are in the mid 80’s, where a foul used to be flagrant nowadays and handchecking was the norm(not like today)
    in chicago series:
    92-93 … 26ppg, 12.5rpg
    91-92….22ppg and 11rpg
    93-94…. 23ppg and 13 rpg

    ewing handled his, as well as damn near every center in the L. dude was the starting center on the dream team. give yer head a shake

  • silky

    for the record… i’m sayin tmac’s d in his prime when healthy was right there, maybe better than kobe’s. problem was he had no shaq to cover his gambles and no-one to lighten his offensive load so he could focus on d. all defense team is a name brand award anyways

  • Ian

    hehe thanks it was just an example of a small market team compared to what ny does to good players and turns them into legends. you didnt have to remind me of the roster. in my book hes wayyyy overrated but hey thats me. if the admiral was the one in ny i cant imagine how people would look at him. fact is ewing was a notch below dave, hakeem and shaq. just look at the individual awards mvps , defensive players of the year, scoring titles, rookie of the year and you cant tell me that ewing wouldnt have an easier time winning one over two centers in texas had he been on their level. you can call ewing the best ever and anything you want but underrated isnt one the words u can use.

    agree ewing shoulda killed those bulls and he didnt it wasnt jordan guarding him. oh and the pacers comonnn pat.

    so you are agreeing with me that he didnt have a good enough team to win it all? lol at doc rivers thanks for that one.

  • silky

    for ewing, the stars just never seemed to align. somethin always happend, charles smith layups, reggies horeshoes, broken wrist, brawl suspensions. its too bad.. he deserved one. but it was MJ’s decade… all those other stars suffered as a result.

  • Ian

    silky he was putting up his normal numbers against a weak front line team those numbers shoulda been up. i dont know why im arguing this cuz i think he sucked and u really liked him so this pointless. heheh

    nowww i do know that ewing usually got bested when he played vs houston , san antonio and orlando/lakers.


  • Ian

    you missed
    im sorry but mj didnt beat barkley , malone and ewing every year cant agree on that one. now the suspension did get the best knick team fucked.

  • silky

    @ian i’m not sayin that he is better than hakeem and shaq or all that. i got him over robinson, imo he was soft and never did much till what some would call the greatest power forward of all time came to his team. the number of admiral were a bit inflated cuz he played in a more wide open conference and had a more free flowing system.

    i think its clear ewing and admiral are below hakeem, from that era. and dont sleep on those pacer teams…when u gotta go against the davis brothers and smits all 48 min… it aint a cake walk

    speaking of mitch richmond tho… that dude was loyal right to the end, never mentined or really talked about. dys before league pass, streaming games and highlights i guess. toil in obscurity

  • silky

    MJ rose to the top, no matter who it was. hate him, but apprecate what he did.

    but yea we could argue but we aint changing eachothers mind.

  • Ian

    “speaking of mitch richmond tho… that dude was loyal right to the end, never mentined or really talked about. dys before league pass, streaming games and highlights i guess. toil in obscurity”

    i concur with you there
    (sorry i was watching catch me if you can and i cant get this dicaprio line outta my head hehe)

  • Ian

    now isnt it weird that being soft and arguably having the worst team of the 4 centers he still had a over .500 winning percentage over all of them?

  • ctkennedy

    Ewing is the only quote on quote great center to never win nothin …MVP..reboundin title or block title..all star mvp …scorin title ..he did nothin..a good player true just never great

  • silky

    thats the thing with stats i guess, you can use em to veil the truth…. i think all the deception from that movie u r watching is coming out subconciously thru your fingers on that keyboard ;)

  • silky

    ewing as a star, sure he never really won the personal accolades but that was never really his thing, high school, college, pros…ect. he was about team. he was about loyalty. he was what this article is about.

    keep in mind he started the dream team.

    kinda crazy when shaq must look back at them picking laettner over him. there truly never woulda been a historicaly weak link on that team

  • Ian

    concur again with ctkennedy

    he started because he had more time in the league not because he was better just look at how many times ewing was first team all nba from 89-96. i think only once when all 4 centers where in their prime and the admiral got it 4 times.

    now this was great talking basketball with grownups without insulting anyone but i gotta go. take care people.

  • Ian

    oh and silky individual awards help the team
    defensive player of the year
    helping the team
    helping the team
    scoring title
    helping the team
    rebound crown
    helping the team

    quadruple double (sorry had to throw that one in there)
    helping the team

    not only that when shaq came in the league ewing stop being even in the third team allnba


  • silky

    your whole “helping the team” spiel doesnt really take u anywhere. is a)obvious and b)irrelevant when u consider what i said previously… when u play in a system or conference more codusive to stats then you are gonna get more personal accolades.

    i’m surprised ewing never made an all defensive team. lots of second places over the years tho… but when u play slow down ball; there are less shots, consequently less potential rebounds and blocks… aka numbers that usually decide rankings by the casual observer. not true defensive ability. but since you can never truly compare two players, we get to have these debates

  • silky

    for the record… the quad-double was nice but my fav robinson moment was the 71pts on the last game of year to take the scoring title from shaq

  • K Dizzle

    @ Ian – At least Ewing made 2nd team 3 times. Every time he didn’t, it was legit First teamers on the squad. Eaton, Dream, DRob, Zo, Mutumbo. Ewing was never better defensively than those guys…

    @ silky n ctkennedy
    Sorry, but I ain’t buyin that ‘Kobe had Shaq so he could concentrate on d’
    After Shaq n before Gasol, Mamba was 1st team all d. Don’t rip accomplishments to try to make ur point. Could TMac put the ball in the hole? Hell yeah, but don’t tell me in a 14 yr career, dude didn’t play d cuz he had to ‘concentrate on scoring’
    That’s an insult to MJ, Kobe, DWade, Lebron, The Glove, Dream, DRob, KJ, Dennis Johnson, The Mailman and I could do this all day.
    Point is, you ain’t as good as Kobe was if you puttin up 35, but the man you guarding is puttin up 30…
    Like they say, defense wins championships. Somebody shoulda told TMac.

    I didn’t wanna post this, but this is all I remember from Kobe vs TMac…

  • K Dizzle

    Sorry. I wanna keep it 100.
    Here’s the full story: TMac made a ridiculous move(as a Laker fan, I’m gonna say Kobe slipped ;)
    , but it was nice tho.
    Then Kobe put the beams on Mac…Wrap!
    Either way, we might as well be comparin MJ to Iceman…


  • Sean Sweeney

    ^^ @K Dizzle

    That whole sequence just defined that Kobe/Tracy rivalry. It was fun as hell when they were both great, and I think in that game they each had 38. I remember T-Mac dropping Kobe with the lil’ fadeaway, and Kobe got the ball and came steaming up the court. He was SO heated. You could tell he was going up with it… it didn’t matter how many guys were on him.

    Kobe’s hand must’ve hurt like hell.